Leave your gut at the door and lead with your head.
Are you really being smart about how you get the work of the organization accomplished? Are you compromised with weak or ineffectual staff? Do you think it is easier to keep staff who require constant workarounds than getting the streamlined results you need?
Do you honestly think that by not outsourcing you are retaining control – or are you just being hamstrung by trying to find that right individual to join your team, get them trained, discover their flaws and create new workarounds?
In this day of technology and virtual banking, why would anything but a remote bookkeeping service make sense? Isn’t there really an event planning company who can run your national meeting better than your small staff who does one of these a year? Why not hire a marketing company to take over the day-to-day web and database management? What if you directed sub-contractors instead of trying to teach staff to get the work done right? Good contractors should also be current on all the new technologies and improve the quality of your output. Is it harder to hire and train a sub than a new staff person? Why not hire experts to get the job done right?
When you consider outsourcing, think about the time you will save managing your operations. If your gut reaction to outsourcing is negative, then maybe you need to think about it with your head and not just your gut.
There are plenty of association management companies who can take on all your back office work; this is the most streamlined approach. Instead of managing staff members, you direct one executive and let them manage the rest. It is like an executive assistant handling all the day-to-day work. And a marketing company to send out communications and manage your website. And a bookkeeper to keep finances in order. And on and on, customized to your organization’s needs.
Best of all, you would be free to raise monies, invest in strategic activities and relationships, and work with and shape the Board to be strategic as well. Isn’t that what you really want to do as an ED?
The Management Assistance Group (MAG) is a nonprofit that helps organizations be more effective. Their study on outsourcing back office services for nonprofits is more relevant than ever, and deserves a review. Download the executive summary or the full report of their findings. They got it right. What about you?